Wordnik word of the day: palaver

by Grant Barrett on October 19, 2009

Today’s word of the day is palaver, meaning “idle chatter” or “talk intended to charm or beguile.” It’s also a verb. It comes from the Portuguese palavra (though perhaps its Spanish cognate is more familiar to modern Angolophones: palabra), meaning “talk, speech, word.” The word seems to have been picked up by English sailors and travelers on the west coast of Africa, where Portuguese was the chief language spoken with Europeans.

Chris October 19, 2009 at 10:09 am

Hi Erin,
In the UK, palaver is usually used to refer to a great fuss or to-do; a bit of a carry-on. Interesting that it apparently has another, rather different meaning in N. Am.! :)

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